The past few weeks have seen the internet alight with discussions of Nintendo’s upcoming console Switch. The revolutionary console, sporting a portable tablet with removable controllers and a hub for television-based gaming, is slated for release in March 2017. The trailer showcases a myriad of titles and gameplay on the Switch, but one thing in particular I took issue with was the titles we were shown being played.
Many of the titles that appeared in the trailer were iterations of franchises that have just recently seen new releases hit the Wii U. Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon in particular, both highly praised games with dedicated fanbases, have me a bit worried. I think it is safe to assume that these games (and possibly others), including the obvious Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, are due to see a re-release on the Switch.
While this is not inherently a bad thing, the problem arises from what is most likely going to be a drought of decent launch titles for the console. We are merely four months out from the Switch’s release, and at this point, the only real selling point for the Switch is the long overdue The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (also releasing on the Wii U). Other than that, the best Nintendo had to show were most likely just remastered or “complete editions” of pre-existing titles.
Of course, this makes sense from Nintendo’s point of view. Games like Splatoon are quality titles, and it is no secret that the Wii U under-performed during its 4-year run. Many gamers have not even had the chance to play many of the titles available on the Wii U. So it is logical to port these over to see some additional sales. The Switch has definitely generated hype, and people will pick up titles they didn’t get a chance to try last generation.
However, this also brings up an issue for Wii U owners like myself. What does the Switch offer for me in terms of games that I have yet to experience? I have not been able to come up with much of an answer. Yes, it might be nice to play Splatoon (one of my favorite games in recent years, mind you) on a more traditional gamepad, and bringing Mario Kart over to a buddy’s house or party could be fun. But for less-sociable types, the library of titles on the horizon is a bit lacking.
This is also a problem that plagued the Wii U for quite some time. The only worthwhile titles at launch were Nintendo Land for your party game fix and New Super Mario Bros. U for a more classic experience. Aside from that, you got sub-par ports and the standard sports game fare. As a result, the Wii U fell drastically short of Nintendo’s expectations. Granted, the horrible marketing and labeling were also factors, but a disappointing library certainly did not do them any favors.
Franchises that have been notoriously absent for some time, such as Metroid and F-Zero, continued to be so for the Switch reveal. What better time could there be for the revival of franchises than the release of a new console? Older fans who feel abandoned by Nintendo and have not purchased a Nintendo product in quite some time could be drawn back by the return of Samus Aran and Captain Falcon to the scene. Hell, if you have to remaster something, remaster GX!
In short, in order to overcome the flaws of its predecessor, the Switch needs a massive influx of quality titles for launch or shortly after. I want Nintendo to succeed, but gamers need something more beyond Zelda, Mario, and a couple remasters in order to invest in yet another console.