Nintendo just had their Switch presentation where they revealed details on the hardware and software for their new system, and I’ve sifted through the news to pick out what I think is important or worth letting you know. Official Switch site here, presentation here.
Release Date, Price, and Other Details
The Nintendo Switch will release on March 3rd worldwide at a suggested retail price of $299.99 USD. The joy-cons are $79.99 for a set of two, $49.99 for one. The pro controller will run you $79.99 and the dock set is $89.99. Hopefully the build quality is good, otherwise we’ll be spending a fortune on replacement hardware. Considering the low cost of the console itself, I can (kind of) forgive exuberant prices for replacement hardware. The only alternative skews announced are different colored joy-cons.
When you drop your $300 you get the Switch console/tablet, the dock, a left and right joy-con, joy-con wrist straps, the grip (the controller where you mount the joy-cons), an HDMI cable, and an AC adapter for charging the tablet. The tablet’s resolution is 720, and while docked it can output up to 1080p. The console can be charged via a USB Type-C connector. The Switch comes with 32 gigabytes of internal memory by default, but you can use micoSD cards to expand the memory. Nintendo said they would not be using region locking “in general”, which is fantastic but the details are still not fully known. The console has three “modes” TV< where you have the console in the dock outputting to the TV, tabletop, where you have the console out and on some surface while using the joy-cons, and handheld, where you have the joy-cons slid onto the sides of the console. When not docked the console’s battery life can range from 2 1/2 hours to 6 1/2 hours “depending on the game.” The console’s screen is capacitive touch. The console has Wifi capability and can wirelessly connect to upt 8 other consoles for multiplayer.
The online service will be free to try until Fall of 2017, no price details have been released as of writing. Other features include lobby and voice chat, free NES/SNES games each month, and exclusive discounts on the eShop. One feature Nintendo didn’t focus on as much as they should have was the connectivity with smart devices. Several times in the presentation it was mentioned that you could connect your smart device to your Switch and then do…something with that. Even the details for the online service mention connecting via a “dedicated smart device app.” Perhaps this implies you manage your party via an app on your phone or other smart device. This new online service only affects the Switch, not the Wii U or 3DS. Full details on the online service here.
The right joy-con’s home button doubles as an NFC reader/writer, meaning that there is Amiibo support and other NFC capable games can be made on the Switch. The left joy-con has a button similar to the Dualshock 4’s share button, enabling players to capture video and screenshots and share them via social media. The joy-cons themselves have two buttons each located in the rail, where they connect to the tablet. This allows them to fully function as controllers. There are wrist straps, as previously mentioned, which slide onto the connection rail of the joy-cons when they are disconnected from the console. Each strap has two buttons so you do not lose the buttons covered by the wrist straps. Each joy-con also has an IR reader, enabling motion control and other forms of control. The example given in the presentation was that if you placed your hand in front of the IR reader and threw rock, paper, or scissors, the controller could read it. The controllers also feature what Nintendo is calling “HD Rumble”. It appears to be a more precise rumble. The presenter used the example of the controller representing a drinking glass in-game; if in-game, an ice cube was dropped into the glass, you could feel it in the rumble, but also feel the difference in two ice cubes vs. one, and also feel the glass fill up with water through the controller. The joy-cons are charged when connected to the tablet or the grip.
1-2 Switch is a party game that appears to be several minigames designed around two players each using one joy-con in some way. Examples shown included gun duels and sword fights. This seems to be their Wii Sports/Nintendo Land minigame collection game for launch, as it’ll be releasing on March 3rd alongside the Switch.
Arms is a 1v1 fighting sports game. Each player holds two joy-cons, one in each hand, and uses the motion controls to maneuver around and punch their opponent. The game will support online, split screen, and local wireless play and also has a vs. CPU mode, although it is unknown if that’ll be some sort of arcade mode just a standard vs. CPU mode. THe presenter described the gameplay as “boxing meets shooting” since you launch your arms and can use the motion controls to aim your long distance punches. Arms is set to release in Spring 2017.
Turns out that footage in the initial trailer was a new Splatoon after all. Splatoon 2 will have new stages, weapons, and all new scorestreak rewards. There’s no confirmation of a single player mode, but a hint of Marie in the trailer indicates that there will be some single player content. The new weapon revealed in the presentation was “splat dualies”, dual wielded pistols that enable an evasive dodge. Turf war was confirmed in the presentation as was Pro controller support, gyro aiming, and local wireless multiplayer. Splatoon 2 (or Splat2n) will also have free post release support, as well as Splatfest-type events.
Super Mario Odyssey
Planned for a Holiday season 2017 release, Super Mario Odyssey sees Mario traveling the world. In the trailer he plays jump rope with normally proportioned humans, carries a turnip, and runs around a crystal apple. The new platforming mechanic is his hat, he can throw it as an attack, bounce off it in mid air for extra distance, and many other things. Bowser is back too with a fresh look.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
It seems no modern Nintendo console is complete without a large Monolith Soft RPG. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a sequel to the original Xenoblade Chronicles on the Wii. The art style is decidedly more anime and steampunky than past games, but the world seems just as vast and explorable. No word on a release date yet.
Fire Emblem Warriors
In the same vein as Hyrule Warriors we have an announcement for Fire Emblem Warriors. No release date or confirmed characters yet, but the trailer strongly hints at CHrom from FE Awakening.
Dragon Quest X, XI, and Heroes 1 & 2
Dragon Quest X, XI, as well as Dragon Quest Heroes 1 and 2 were all confirmed to be in development for the Switch.
New Shin Megami Tensei
Atlus revealed a new Shin Megami Tensei game so early in development it doesn’t have an official name yet. We don’t yet know if this will be in SMT IV’s universe, a spin-off, or SMT V, but we can tell it will have a great soundtrack and fantastic art.
Project Octopath Traveler from Square Enix
I guess I am Setsuna paid off for Square Enix because they’re back with another ode to old jRPGs with Project Octopath Traveler. All we know at this time is that it is an RPG and it is made by the Bravely Default devs. Interesting visual design, though.
Support Promised from SEGA
Despite not announcing any games Toshihiro Nagoshi, Corporate Director of SEGA, promised that SEGA will support the Nintendo Switch.
Skyrim Ported to the Switch
Todd Howard confirmed via prerecorded video that Skyrim is indeed being ported to the Switch. The footage shown indicates that the Switch port will have the graphical updates of the Special Edition, but there is no word on mods. Frankly it seems next to impossible that Nintendo would allow mods, but again, no official word. According to Nintendo’s website the Switch version of Skyrim is releasing in Fall 2017.
Switch Exclusive FIFA
EA Executive Vice President Patrick Söderlund announced a Switch exclusive FIFA game.
Suda 51: Travis Touchdown Game Coming to Switch
Suda 51 also made an appearance at the presentation to announce an new Travis Touchdown game that is heavily inspired by pro wrestling. No official title has been revealed as of yet. There was another game announced called “Has-Been Heroes” but it is not the Travis Touchdown game. Suda also said he had been traveling around Japan and talking with indie developers. He said the indie devs were excited for the Switch since it is easy to develop for.
Breath of the Wild Releasing March 3rd
The presentation wrapped with the announcement that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be released on March 3rd, 2017; the same day as the Switch itself, revealed by one of the best Legend of Zelda trailers ever.
Miscellaneous Other Game Announcements
Ultra Street Fighter 2, new characters, new mode, new graphics $39.99
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a re-release of Mario Kart 8 with new tracks and characters, $59.99, coming April 28th
Unnamed/unspecified “Tales of” game
Switch Launch Line-up (North America)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Just Dance 2017
Has Been Heroes (NOT the Travis Touchdown game)
Super Bomberman R
Disgaea 5 Complete
Puyo Puyo Tetris
I am Setsuna
Nintendo is smart to have Breath of the Wild launching with the Switch, since no other launch games seem to be system sellers. Nintendo mentioned that there are over 80 third party games in development for the Switch, and while I am very excited to see what those are, namely From Software’s, Nintendo consoles are all about Nintendo games, with third party exclusives being a sweet treat. SMT (5?), Splatoon 2, Xenoblade 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, and Super Mario Odyssey all have me extremely excited for the Switch, even more so than when it was announced. The initial price point of $300 is excellent, even if replacement/additional hardware is far too expensive. From a hardware perspective Nintendo has done a fantastic job of melding their portable and console features, especially with keeping the wireless local multiplayer from the DS and 3DS. In terms of software I am curious to see if we will have a multitude of portable sized and priced games. The new Shin Megami Tensei game might be one of those and so might Project Octopath Traveler. There are still some important details we need to know,, like the pricing of the new online service, but overall this presentation only made me more excited and optimistic for the Switch. Here’s hoping it has a long life, and as always, thanks for reading.
Header image source: https://blogs.nvidia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/20-nintendo-switch.jpg
Joy-con diagram image source: http://i.amz.mshcdn.com/MMjPUGMcQUvtnZ7oI_i1MW6j8xk=/fit-in/1200×9600/https%3A%2F%2Fblueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fuploads%2Fcard%2Fimage%2F347668%2F73238e7d-9597-44d0-90f0-427254036a46.jpg
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