Today, at precisely four in the morning, Nintendo re-unveiled and detailed the Nintendo Switch. I watched it live and then almost immediately fell back to sleep (as best I could anyway) but not before noting what they announced. So here is a summary of the event:
- First of all, it was semi-live show which surprised me since every previous Nintendo Direct was pre-recorded.
- Nintendo jumped into date and price straight away: Third of March 2017, worldwide, and it will cost £279.99 (£30 more than rumoured)
- The console will have online functionality, of course, with online multiplayer and a chat system that – seemingly – requires a smart phone to use. You will also have to pay for it by Autumn of this year.
- It is a region free console.
- You still dock the entire console in a station to play it on a television using the Joy Controllers connected together. You can remove it and attach the two controllers to the Switch and take it out and about.
- What you get when you buy a Switch is this: Two Joy Controllers, a Docking Station, a stand and of course the console itself. No games as far as I am aware.
- Battery life depends on the game you are playing. It can range from two and a half hours to six.
- The Joy Controllers themselves have gyroscopes in them and something called HD Rumble. They can be used like Wii-motes. Whilst the rumble has some sort of tactile use? It wasn’t made especially clear.
- The controllers also have amiibo support and an IR camera in the front that, reportedly, is good enough to detect something like “Rock, Paper Scissors.” Again, not sure what use that will be when it comes to games. They also come in two different colours: black and red/blue.
- Nintendo showed off two games: 1,2 Switch and Arms. The former uses the HD rumble and doesn’t actually involve looking at a screen, it is all based around the ‘HD Rumble.’ It is the Switch’s version of Wii Sports, in a way.
- Arms looks like a mixture of boxing and a competitive shooter. The entire premise is: You are some thing in a robot with long springy arms and you have to punch each other to death. Seems like a lot of fun. It is based around motion controls.
- Splatoon 2 was announced. It looks very similar to the previous game, but it has new maps, new modes, new weapons and a bigger hub world. I hope it has an equally great single-player campaign. It is coming out in the Summer.
- Mario Odyssey, the next main Mario game, was announced. It is in the same open-world style as Mario 64 and Mario Sunshine. Mario is taken to an alternative reality away from the Mushroom Kingdom and has to get back Peach from Bowser and his Rabbit minions. They showed a city environment (Donk City), a Mexican environment and some sort of food based land. Plus, Mario’s hat can be used both as a weapon and something to help traverse platforms. The game looks INCREDIBLE. It will be out in Winter.
- Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was announced. Not sure how it is connected to the previous game, but it looks equally epic and the characters have a new anime inspired design.
- Fire Emblem Warriors, Dynasty Warriors but set in the Fire Emblem franchise, was announced. I hope I can play as Donnell.
- Square Enix had a few games to show. Dragon Quest X and XI were announced, as was Dragon Quest Heroes I.II.
- Atlas had a brief trailer. They are making a game using the Unreal Engine. It might be Shin Megami Tensei V? Nothing concrete was said, but it will probably be a while before we hear anything.
- Square Enix had one final surprise. An old-school JRPG tentatively titled Octopath Adventure was announced. It looks like a mixture of the older sprite-based Final Fantasy games with a 3D environment. It looked beautiful.
- SEGA made a hilariously brief appearance. They basically said “Nintendo Switch looks cool, can’t wait to develop games for it!” and then left.
- Todd Howard, lead developer and I think one of the heads of Bethesda, made an appearance to officially announced Skyrim for the Switch. It will be out in the Winter.
- Suda 51 did a typically weird and wonderful entrance to say that he will be developing a new game with Travis Touchdown, the protagonist of the No More Heroes games, in it.
- EA unleashed their vampire to say that FIFA will come to the Switch.
- Then their was a montage of upcoming games. I could see Mario Kart 8, Minecraft, NBA 2K17 and a Sonic game (there were more, but I was tired and didn’t write it down).
- Nintendo then went into a bit more detail about prices. Extra Joy Controllers are $79.99, the Pro Controller is $49.99 and the Dock is priced at $89.99.
- They ended the presentation with another Zelda: Breath of the Wild trailer and the game’s release date: March third. It will be a launch title for the Nintendo Switch.
So after all that, what did I think of the presentation and the console as it stands? I am lukewarm on it. The price doesn’t necessarily put me off, even if it is a bit on the expensive side or even the lack of games announced. I know for a fact that Nintendo have some serious stuff up their sleeves that they are keeping for E3 or their Directs further in the year. No, what does bother me are the Joy-Controllers. They just look seriously uncomfortable to use. When they are combined, the controller looks severely un-ergonomic and when you use each half separately, they seem too small to be comfortable. I will wait for a demo machine in my local game’s shop before I go out and buy one, that’s for sure. Plus, the games don’t look markedly better than the ones on the Wii U, so I am not feeling the power of the Switch yet, but then again that is always the case with launch games. Their development always has one foot in the previous generation and it takes a couple of years for the technology to really get going. I am a big fan of Nintendo but I am left with a few too many question marks to feel truly hyped for the Switch.
Watch the presentation here:
More information at the Official Nintendo Website