(Opinion) The Nintendo Switch is just a bit shy over 1 year’s old. And while I was late to the party (not obtaining my own copy of the hybrid console until last February), it seems to have had a great lifespan – at least, according to other outlets. And it’s fair enough to assume so. We got Mario Odyssey, Xenoblade Chorincles 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, Breath of the Wild, and more great games. But, wait? Do you notice something there? Most of the Switch’s greatest games released in its first year are either all Nintendo IPs, or published by Nintendo? Seem familiar?
This is the pattern I’ve noticed on Nintendo consoles ever since I interacted with them as a child. The DS, 3DS, Wii, WiiU, all had some great first-party games on it. And some decent third-parties, but mostly first-parties. And while these titles are always a blast, fans have been crying for more and more third-party support ever since the days of the Wii, and even some consoles beforehand. And while we can blame it on the sales (for example, the awfully performing WiiU), I personally believe we have none other than Nintendo to blame. The entertainment company has always been harsh on third-parties; pretty much denying any and all access to their consoles, at least to triple A games and developers. And it’s that push that leads to poorly-performing console sales on Nintendo’s end.
Recently, we saw a light of hope with the Nintendo Switch focusing on a more pro-third-party catalogue and a more pro-mature one as well. We’ve seen titles we’d never suspect make it to a Nintendo console, such as Skyrim, L.A. Noire, and even DOOM. It’s honestly amazing to me, but at the same time, it’s not enough. Now, I know this makes me sound like some nit-picky, over-demanding fanboy. That may be the case. However, it’s not enough to me, because the steam we were picking up for more immersive, third-party games on the new Switch has started to blow down.
And while we can understand – not everyone is eager to port every triple A game to the Switch – there’s another problem present along with it: lack of original, new first-parties. That’s just a big Nintendo-no-no. Sure, we have all the games I previously mentioned, including Pokken, Mario Kart 8, and more. But most of these games are WiiU ports, and if not, there’s not many brand-new Nintendo IPs on the new console. It feels almost as if Nintendo hadn’t even given themselves enough time to have a powerful catalogue to go with.
So, in a hopes to rally some discord and to get Nintendo thinking, here’s the Nintendo IPs that need to be made for the Switch. And not just ported: new AND original, to separate the console from the WiiU/3DS. Alongside this is discussion of the need of a system software overhaul.
1) Pokemon Switch
We’ve already been seeing confirmations of the Pokemon Switch game to be the 8th generation, and this is great news! This most likely points to a guarantee that it will be a new mainline Pokemon game, and not a port or mashup of Sun & Moon.
2) Animal Crossing
The last home console Animal Crossing game is going to be ten years old this November. 10 years old. The last fully-fledged Animal Crossing game is going to be 6 this year. Yes, I’m excluding Happy Home Designer and the mobile Pocket Camp. Animal Crossing is obviously a popular Nintendo IP that many people, young and old, love dearly. The Switch being a hybrid console, means we could indeed have a beautiful, large Animal Crossing game going with us anywhere in the world. I don’t want ports, as stated, but sticking with the idea of City Folk wouldn’t be bad either.
3) Star Fox
One of the more underrated IPs of Nintendo is Star Fox. I personally loved the play style of all the Star Fox games I had the chance to play as a kid. The last attempt to boot up Star Fox on the WiiU didn’t go as well as expected, only averaging a 69% metacritic score. The Switch’s booted graphics and mobility, however, are the perfect environment for a Star Fox game to find itself in.
4) Fire Emblem
We’ve had a very basic confirmation that the Switch will indeed have a Fire Emblem game (not referencing Fire Emblem Warriors). However, this statement was made long ago, not too long after the Switch’s birth. Since then, several Nintendo Directs have passed, and no news has been shared about the project. I’m hoping Nintendo will go for a new game, like Fates or Awakening, and avoid another port, or at the very least bring a from-the-ground-up reboot of an older game.
Alongside these suggestions, of course Nintendo needs to do all they can to make the Switch more inviting to third-party developers. They need to force developers to think “Nintendo-only.” Many great third-party games yet to release for the Switch are also going to release for other platforms, and while this offers a great amount of choice to players, this can very well be bad for business to Nintendo. I’ve noticed this lack of Switch-only third-parties lately, and we all know it’s in fear of failing sales. If Nintendo makes their move now with more first-party releases, and some major system changes (I discuss those down further), they can reignite the hype and buzz the console had upon it’s first announcement. Such a rise in coverage would bolster sales, at least in theory, and make third-parties that aren’t just indies (hopefully) strive to create unique, exclusives for the console.
I mentioned needing a system overhaul earlier, and whether you agree or not, the system itself seems so…lacking. The 3DS is an amazing performer for Nintendo, just ask anyone. This system also has a unique, customizable and interactive software UI. The Switch? A choice between White or Black backgrounds, with some game tiles and a button to the eShop, Album, Settings and Controllers. While many may respect the simplicity, it just seems to barebones for a Nintendo system.
First and foremost, the lack of customizing makes it moot. White or Black are our options of Themes, yet there’s no Theme shop available like there is for the 3DS. I can’t make folders for certain apps, I can’t use a web browser, user profiles are lackluster. I personally think the Nintendo Switch’s UI is where it fails the most. It’s so boring and unimaginative that sometimes browsing your console is just, well, unbearable. I strongly believe Nintendo is hard at work on addressing such changes, but we can only hope it comes soon enough before the interest and lack of support fades from this very promising console.
What are your thoughts? Feel free to debate down in the comments section, or share what games and changes you want to see on the Nintendo Switch.