Tomorrow, about 12pm my time, Nintendo will finally reveal everything important about their next console, the Switch. Everyone’s waiting with baited breath on what may or may not appear, but let’s be honest for a second. Whatever does eventuate tomorrow, there will probably be disappointment, it always happens. So here’s a few things to expect from tomorrow’s presentation … whether you want to hear these or not…
Old is New Again
A majority of what we see tomorrow will more than likely revolve around ports, remakes and Switch editions of existing content. That’s not a bad thing, but you can expect Nintendo to stack as much content into the first three months of the console’s lifespan, which means quick and cheap ports of Splatoon, Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros. and a few more. Unfortunately, most of these ports will more than likely be minor refreshes, existing releases with a few extra pieces of content and an extra lick of paint. That’s both a complaint and a compliment, considering the many Wii U games that were highly rated in the first place.
Splatoon and Mario Kart are a given on the system during the launch window, both titles pushing the aspect of multiplayer anywhere, something Nintendo will focus on greatly. Smash Bros. might also get named dropped, possibly even Mario Party.
Year One Will be Mixed
On the back of the above, the first year of the Switch’s life will be a mixed bag. There may be a handful of new IP’s, but Nintendo will likely focus on their existing lineup to ensure sales are at their highest. That also might suggest delving back into the grab bag of existing franchises, pulling out a few long dormant names in the process, such as F-Zero, Pilotwings or … dear God let this be true … Metroid.
Metroid is a Long Shot
Speaking of Samus, it’s still a long shot. Retro Studios have been rather quiet since their second entry of the Donkey Kong Country revival, but their first love will no doubt be Metroid Prime. If Nintendo are learning from their mistakes, as they claim to be, Metroid Prime would be a ‘prime’ candidate for the new console, especially if they want to bring in the older fan base. Retro are an important member of the Nintendo family, having previously contributed to Mario Kart 7 too, so expect them to be at the forefront either during the launch phase, or not long after.
3rd Party Will be Slow
Despite Nintendo’s claims of plenty of development support, the Switch will likely be a void when it comes to 3rd party content, at least in the early going. There’s a number of studios who are no doubt keen to work on the system, but are hesitant to put anything out there just yet until the Switch is an established brand. If the likes of Bethesda and Ubisoft are supporting the system as much as the rumours suggest, and the sales are as strong as we all hope they will be, that support should build over time. That being said, we’ll see a few names and early development teases tomorrow that will hopefully bode us with some confidence.
FIFA Will be EA’s First Port
We’re all hoping for that surprise moment, where EA say ‘fooled you’ and show off Mass Effect: Andromeda as a Switch release at launch. But that’s wishful thinking a the best of times. EA has confirmed a major brand will be there to begin with, but it’s more likely to be FIFA instead of the next Bioware hit, or Battlefield 1 for that matter. There could still be a surprise in store, but the bet seems solid on a sports title instead.
Indies Will Play an Important Role
We’ve already had confirmations of some big indies coming to the Switch, including Shovel Knight and Stardew Valley. Nintendo has had some solid indie support over the years, even on the Wii U, with a few exclusives that have helped to covered for the lack of 1st party releases. Given the continued growth of the online market, having a solid eShop lineup will play a key role in the Switch’s early months. Expect a solid indie launch cycle, including a number of games based on existing 3DS or Wii U brands.
The 3DS is the Secret Weapon
This is something I was thinking of the other day, and it does make sense. The 3DS has had a good run, better than most, and it’s 1st party support has always been solid. Nintendo has supposedly brought their portable and home console divisions together for the Switch, which means there are more developer’s in-house working on new content in one place. That could lead to a number of previously portable only brands making the jump across to the new unit, including the likes of Fire Emblem (which has been released on home consoles previously), Professor Layton, Rhythm Heaven, the Mario & Luigi RPG series, and so on and so forth. There’s a lot of content to mine there, much of which hasn’t been on a home console before but would fit rather comfortably within this new family.
Oh, and Pokemon. Can’t forget that. If it’s true, having a proper Pokemon sequel and not a spin-off will be a major deal breaker for many people considering a purchase, either day one or beyond. Mention that tomorrow, and no doubt sales will climb.
The Price Will be Affordable
Nintendo will want an affordable unit in the early going. It will be cheaper than the current Wii U prices, somewhat on par with the current PS4/XB1 500gb models, possibly even cheaper if there’s a basic launch package and a more expensive model. Remember, it’s a portable, so they won’t want to go too far beyond the current prices of a 3DS either. Time will tell.