It’s fairly common knowledge that Nintendo has put an emphasis on their third-party partners for the Switch. But is there already trouble brewing?
What exactly is Nintendo’s priority?
According to developer Gearbox’ Randy Pitchford, it’s definitely not Borderlands 3. Apparently, Gearbox was working on bringing the next game in the popular FPS series to the upcoming Nintendo Switch, but something changed. According to a tweet from Pitchford, talks between the two companies “stopped for some reason”. Mysteriously, he then added “They have other proprieties.”
What those priorities might be, we can only speculate about. The typical thing to say in the past, would have been something like “they’re most concerned about games catering more towards a younger demographic”. I had hoped that, given the Wii U debacle, Nintendo would have learned from their policies, but now I’m not so sure.
Take a look at the first year of releases, as they stand now for the Switch. Do you see any big third-party titles on that list that are tilted towards older gamers? The closest you can get is Skyrim, and that’s about it. Sure, there are some games from publishers like Activision (Skylanders), but there aren’t all that many and they’re most definitely skewed towards being kid-friendly.
Nintendo, to me, needed to have a big first-party presence for the Switch. That was the most important thing, right out of the gates. But for the life of the console, they have to have third-party games aplenty, and need to cater to older gamers. If they don’t, then we’re going to see the console become a Wii U 2 in terms of sales and popularity. I feel pretty comfortable saying that.
Wait a sec though, can the Switch even run something like Borderlands?
That’s a good question since the console isn’t as powerful as the Xbox One and PS4. But according to Pitchford, when he was asked about the reality of the Unreal engine on the Switch, the answer is ‘yes’. The Gearbox boss said, “We have Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel on nVidia Shield, so why not?” With that revelation, there’s no reason why big third-party releases (like those that use the Unreal Engine) can’t appear on the Switch.
It’s news that’s both good and bad. Since we know it’s technically possible at some level, the lack of such titles on the schedule shifts things to a case of whether Nintendo wants these games. The idea that they’re relatively disinterested gets a little more solid when you take into account the above statement. Nintendo has “other priorities”? That sounds kind of like like the company has no interest in changing up their formula.
As a probable Switch buyer myself, that’s a scary thought.
I’ve had plenty of fun with my Wii U, I can’t deny that. All of the first-party Nintendo stuff has been great. Thing is though, I wanted more from the Switch. Since the console can shift into a mobile mode, I was excited to be able to take my games with me. And if, yet again, I’m denied big time third-party titles, then I’ll still primarily be a PS4/Xbox One gamer. And the Switch will remain exactly the same as my Wii U- the place I go to play Nintendo games. Kind of a bummer.
Of course all of this worry, even with Pitchford’s comments, is currently much ado about nothing. Until the Switch actually sees release, makes its E3 debut, and runs through Holliday 2017, well we don’t know for sure whether or not Nintendo will repeat the mistakes of the past. So it’s really still at the ‘wait and see’ point.
From the looks of things right now though, I can’t say I’m too optimistic.