Did Nintendo meet our lofty expectations, or do we feel as in the dark about their new handheld-home console hybrid as we did before their Tokyo conference? I talk about the divisive presentation, and how I feel it could’ve been improved.
I think I, like most people, were fairly (cautiously?) optimistic coming into the Switch presentation. We’d had a brief glimpse into what looked to be a promising piece of hardware: A handheld/home console hybrid, that wants to bridge the gap between on-the-go gaming, local multiplayer, online multiplayer and sofa gaming. Damn, sounds good right? Right.
The only problem is Nintendo didn’t seem to really know how to market it. This was the first information dump; the first time shareholders could view the product and gauge the reaction of the buying public. It was a golden opportunity for Nintendo, and they decided a live presentation was the best conceivable format for arguably their most important conference for the past 10 years.
So that bridges nicely into: HOW THE NINTENDO CONFERENCE SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED:
God, it was awkward at times, which is why it should have been a direct. Keep the live presenting to a minimum, especially dragging developers onto the stage to talk about the prospect of a game as they head into development with only a pre-existing character to talk about. It felt like there was a lot of dead air, and a clean, seamless direct would have been both more efficient, and more engaging whilst ensuring the quality of the presentation.
This should have been a showcase for games, most of which we got in a minute long montage at the end. Super Bomberman R? That’s a big deal. So make it a big deal, instead of focusing the little time we had on telling people that a stripped down version of FIFA is coming to the console. I mean, sure, that’s third party support if you want to look at it that way, but I can’t convince myself that FIFA’s skinnier, smaller and dimmer brother is going to be the feature that tickles their fancy and sways them into buying the console.
Purely from the perspective of a Nintendo fan, here’s how I would have structured the presentation, well, the Nintendo Direct:
1.DATE. PRICE. We’re in collective agreement that it is a little pricy, so best they got that out of the way quickly.
This is a no-brainer, arguably the only segment of the conference that I agreed with, which says a lot:
Configuration of controllers – yadda yadda.
Online support and new online system. Any trophy/achievement system? Wishful thinking.
Battery life? Done. Power? Done. Resolution? DUH-UNN.
2.Jump right in. Launch titles. Yes people are hyped for Legend of Zelda: breath of the Wild, but we’ve seen a heck of a lot of it already. We know it’s coming, it’s not a surprise, do it early. Hype people up with a game they want, and not control gimmicks.
3.Launch titles end with 1 2 SWITCH. Perfect time to jump into the new HD Rumble stuff, introducing the features of the Joy Con controllers. Yes, it’s relatively gimmicky, yes it will seldom be used by developers, but it’s gonna be a quirky feature for launch titles that some people might get a kick out of.
4.VIRTUAL CONSOLE. So, support for GameCube games which we know is happening. Which games are going to be included? Will it fit in with their online system, like support for NES and SNES games? Can we play MKDouble Dash, Luigi’s Mansion, Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime? Expected prices? Controller compatibility with it?
5.Splatoon 2! Mario Kart Deluxe! SmashU.2! (catchy right?) Here’s where we hear about the ports/sequels-ish — sprinkled in is the third party support. We don’t need an EA rep flown out to Japan to announce FIFA for goodness sake. Bethesda finally announces Skyrim even though it was featured in the fucking launch trailer. 80 games in development. Loads of 3rd party support. Marvel at all of these names. BAM done.
Some of the first words uttered in the New York Treehouse Live this morning were “I can’t wait for Mario Kart Deluxe, which wasn’t talked about in the presentation.” There, that’s your issue. Why was it brushed over? It’s what people want, so give them that.
6.We go to REGGIE! He has some pretty sweet news. MARIO ODYSSEY. Thus begins the list of games that are currently still in development and are being readied for release later this year. We have a montage of developers who are working on games for the SWITCH instead of them fluffing their lines awkwardly on stage. CONFIRMED titles, and not prospective games.
7.We build up to the crescendo, the montage showcasing all the games that are coming to SWITCH in 2017 providing an extra lift in the final stretch. BUT THIS TIME, WE GET TITLES.
8.Ideally we end on a huge announcement for Metroid, F Zero, or Luigi’s Mansion 3, Star Fox, maybe an entirely new game based around Wario’s quest for love, I don’t know, anything. Just a short teaser trailer, a promise of an existing OR NEW Nintendo IP that we’re going to see as part of the Switch life-cycle. Just something to whet the watcher’s appetite, and help us understand that the Switch will bring us the games we wanted to see on the WiiU.
We want games. We want game titles.
Footnote: Project: Octopath Traveler is arguably the greatest game title. Ever.