Nintendo Switch Presentation
A New Challenger
So the Nintendo Switch Presentation just got done announcing a ton of new details and information in the early hours of this morning at 4AM. Being a lifelong Nintendo fan and borderline obsessive this event was a must watch for me and turned out to be a fantastic showing for the company. Over the next few paragraphs I’m going to ramble on about all the new announcements, information and all round Nintendo goodness that was displayed.
So let’s start off with the big one. The Nintendo Switch is officially a thing and will be here very soon. More specifically March 3rd 2017, it had previously been rumoured for a March 17th release date but Nintendo full on switched it up and we are getting it a full 2 weeks prior to what was anticipated. In little over a months’ time we will have a brand new innovative Nintendo system in our hands. The pricing for the console seemed in par with usual new Nintendo releases. £279.99 standard RRP and it comes bundled in two forms, the standard system with grey Joy-Con controllers or standard system with blue and red Joy-Cons.
Pretty Little Toaster
We got a full on look of the system and all the little intricacies of the hardware. We got a look at the new controller figurations on display the Joy-Cons. These little pieces of hardware connect to the tablet like screen device and can be used in a similar way of the Wii U gamepad or removed separately to form individual Wii-Mote like controllers. You can also attach them to the Grip-Pad to turn them into a more traditional looking controller and there will be also be a pro-controller version released as well around launch. These controllers can also act as controllers for multiplayer so straight off the bat you have a controller ready for player 2 without having to spend a fortune on a second controller.
The look of the Joy-Con initially looks quite small but adding the strap accessory does sound to add some more size to the handheld controller making it look more comfortable. The tech in the controllers seem quite Nintendo like from the get go with it featuring the same sort of designs as the Wii Motion Plus controllers by being very sensor sensitive including the new version of this the HD Rumble and an in built NFC chip for the Amiibo addicts out there. This new software was demonstrated by shaking the remote to signal the difference of knowing whether there is one, two or three ice cubes in a glass. It may seem gimmicky but at the end of the day this is what Nintendo does down to a tee.
The system itself looked quite slim and sleek on the design front. The Wii U gamepad whilst an originally idea and worked quite well in certain games wasn’t the most appealing of controllers. The Switch gamepad is the opposite look wise, it looks slim as a tablet, has a nice new docking station for when you’re on the big screen playing and looks very comfortable and not too big for the handheld market when you’re on the move. The battery life does seem like it could be an issue though as it was reported anywhere from 2.5 hours to 6 hours battery life depending on the game so any of your big budget games I imagine will get the short end of the stick battery wise.
They did also briefly mention the online aspect of the system but didn’t reveal too much of what to expect. Voice chat features where absent but they mentioned an account hooked to a smart phone and initially free online period but paid online services for later in the year. Not really a surprise considering the other big companies all pay for online services but I’m still curious whether Nintendo will feature an achievement/trophy like option for games in future.
Following suit from Sony to Nintendo have finally removed region locking from there systems they announced. This announcement will no doubt please fans that are constantly on the lookout for new Nintendo games which have previously all shipped globally at different time periods to each other.
Games, Games, Games
Time to move onto the games now the house keeping specs are out of the way and boy did we get some good looking games!
We got a hands on look at two new Switch IPs first off showing the use of the Joy-Con. ‘1,2, Switch’ is a basically Wii-Play like game for the system which focuses on the features used by the Joy-Con. It features multiplayer style games like a Texas standoff, answering telephone calls, casting wizard spells, simulating air guitar moves, dance offs and more. The premise of this game is to look at the other player and not the screen to gage timings to win. They said the intention of this game was made so that ‘everyone can play together.’ The second new IP shown was ARMS which is a motion controlled boxing game. This game looked like a cartoony boxing game where your characters arms are giant like spring boxing gloves that fire across the screen at fast paces and in different directions. It didn’t look like the most complex of games but again this looks like pure Nintendo simplistic fun and a nice little party game to play but I imagine when they add in the online functionality at a later date it may get more competitive.
We saw a few sequels from newer Nintendo IPs throughout the presentation such as Splatoon 2. It looked very similar to the first game but slightly bigger maps and new weapon systems but overall looks to be the same level of enjoyment and no surprise considering the first one was a surprise hit. We also got Xenoblade Chronicles 2 from Monolith Soft, this looks to be a direct sequel to the original Xenoblade Chronicles and not the X game that was released little over 12 months ago on the Wii-U. It did look quite impressive from the trailer shown and as a big fan of the first two this will be the RPG that grabs my attention the most from the Switch. We have a new Warriors game coming from Koei Techmo studios aswel, this time connected to the Fire Emblem series but nothing was shown of the actual gameplay just a little teaser but it’s nice knowing they are going to carry on with these Nintendo specific Warriors games as Hyrule Warriors was a blast to play.
The next big Mario was announced. Super Mario Odyssey – a new open world sandbox game in the vain of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine. It was nice for them to reference Super Mario Sunshine as it always seems to be the Mario game that even though critically acclaimed seems to get forgotten in the mountain of Mario games released. It looked quite different from the usual games this one as it showed numerous different types of worlds you will travel to, some looked very Mushroom Kingdom like but they also placed in some real world locations like New York and Tokyo which whilst a strange addition looked pleasantly surprising. Mario has a new attack mode by the look of it as well in the form of his cap being able to throw it at enemies whilst also using it as a jump-pad, it seemed all normal until the end of the trailer when it was shown the cap now has eyes and seems to be a living creature so it’ll be interesting to see what the end game and plan of this is in the game.
For the first time in a long time it was nice to see Nintendo talk about 3rd party support and mention they have currently over 50 individual studios working on over 80 games for the system so it looks like we may finally get regularly releases on the system unlike the Wii-U which had some incredibly long draught periods due to the lack of support. With them talking about all the support this cut to video clips and introductions from studios announcing games and support for the system. With Bethesda revealing Skyrim after a big hush hush moment from the reveal video to EA announcing the new Fifa will feature on the system it seems there will no doubt be plenty of AAA games on the system over the next few years. SEGA announced a new Shin Megami Tensei game and Sonic Mania whilst Square Enix announced a huge list of Dragon Quest games coming to the system including Dragon Quest X and XI and Dragon Quest Heroes 1 and 2 as well as a new untitled project currently codenamed ‘Project Octopath Traveler.’
Nintendoes what Sega Don’t
The support and enthusiasm for the system and games from all involved seemed genuine and back to the Nintendo of days gone by. The presenters on stage and in video really seemed like they were having a great time with the games and talking about them and seeing Nintendo actually put on a stage presentation again was great to see. It featured just the right amount of information to get you excited for the system by having aspects of the E3 style stage shows and the pre-recorded segments of the Nintendo Direct videos. It was also the first public showing of Tatsumi Kimishima as president of the company and overall he did a great job for the first showing, hopefully in time he will become as much a frontal figure as Satoru Iwata was for the company.
The presentation ended with a segment going from the live feed in Japan to NoE president Satoru Shibata talking about the European events demoing the Switch and then crossing over to NoA president Reggie Fils-Aime. Reggie’s segment was slightly longer as we got a look at Shingeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and teasing the release date.
Overall this presentation delivered on everything it set out to do. It announced a fantastic line-up of games to look forward to, revealed a modest price point and showcased the new innovative features we have come to expect from Nintendo. If you were on the fence in regards to the Switch I would highly recommend checking out the full presentation and if Breath of the Wild and Skyrim on the go can’t convince you then I’m not sure what will.